Mescalero Apache teacher recognized with national grant for helping under served communities

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MESCALERO, N.M. – KOB 4 introduced you to Sergio Torres, a science teacher who was awarded part of a national grant to help communities in need, but he wasn’t the only one in New Mexico to get recognized.

A Mescalero Apache School teacher is the second recipient to get a grant promoting science learning. But teaching wasn’t something Nate Raynor thought he’d be doing, let alone for over 13 years. 

“Growing up, I hated school, you would never have believed I would’ve become an educator,” said Nate Raynor. 

Raynor says there were’nt a lot of opportunities in the science field, especially for minority groups. So he joined the military where he was an Air Force technician for 20 years. 

“The opportunities that we can present to them now is a lot more than what I was used to going up,” said Raynor. 

It was service in the military that led him to see the service in science. 

A big issue impacting the Mescalero Apache Reservation is bad air quality. 

Raynor led a group of students to find ways to protect the community from the devastating effects of breathing smoke from wildfires and wood burning during colder months. 

“This project we’re working on is with air sensors. We plant them wherever, and we figure out if the air is good enough for people with breathing problems,” said Raynor. 

And with the new STEM research kit from national nonprofit “Society for Science” they’ll be able to test water quality – another issue they face in the reservation. 

Making a difference in the community, one experiment at a time.